A question I hear quite often from new clients is, “how long does it take to notice weight loss?”
There isn’t an easy answer for this but from my own weight loss journey, you can normally start seeing results in as quick as 1-2 weeks.
This depends on multiple factors including how much weight you have to lose and the plan you use to lose the weight in the first place.
Within those 1-2 weeks, it’s pretty easy to achieve around 5-10 lbs of weight loss in the form of water weight and muscle glycogen. This makes a big difference in how your appearance looks.
The goal isn’t to stop at the 2-week mark, however!
As soon as you get past your first 21 days (3 weeks), you’ll start to notice you’re ingraining good eating habits and adapting to a healthier lifestyle.
From here, it is usually pretty simple to continue on your way!
After these first 3 weeks, you can start to see daily changes as long as you stick to the plan and increase the difficulty of your workouts/increase your calorie deficit.
So, how long does it take to notice weight loss?
It can be as soon as 1-2 weeks in the form of some fat and water weight but in general, it takes 4 weeks to notice solid weight loss results!
Table Of Contents
- 1 How Much Weight Should You Aim To Lose Per Weight Loss Phase?
- 2 How Long Does It Take To See Weight Loss Results?
- 3 How Long Should A Weight Loss Phase Last?
- 4 What To Do If I Don’t Start Seeing Results In 4 Weeks?
- 5 How Much Weight Do You Need To Lose To Notice A Difference?
- 6 Can You Lose Weight And Gain Muscle At The Same Time?
- 7 Conclusion
How Much Weight Should You Aim To Lose Per Weight Loss Phase?
A lot of people have a huge rebound in weight after they lose bodyweight.
After your diet and exercise weight loss phase, you need to make sure you get back to maintenance calories and keep your cravings in check.
For a 200 lb male, this would be 2 pounds per week lost and 20 lbs lost overall. By following these guidelines, you won’t diet down to levels that increase your hunger hormones as much. If you surpass this number like many seem to, expect to see a rebound in body weight after a diet is over.
Take your time and only aim to lose a maximum of 10% of your body fat per diet phase. By doing this, you’ll keep the weight off and your hard work will absolutely pay off!
How Long Does It Take To See Weight Loss Results?
Doing some research on message boards and forums on the internet I found a pretty shocking discovery.
People tended to notice weight loss results at completely different rates based on how much those people weighed at the start.
These rates ranged from 10, 20, 30, and even 40 lbs before people realized it!
So, on average how long does it take to see weight loss results?
You know that 10% body weight loss I mentioned above? That’s actually almost the exact range other people start noticing!
People that started at 275 lbs and dropped to 250 started getting noticed. The people at 150 lbs were noticed when they dropped around 15 lbs to 135.
It’s almost an exact 1:1 ratio of my recommended maximum weight loss! I didn’t even realize this as I was researching for this article.
Bottom line, if you want to start actually seeing your weight loss results, expect around a 10% weight loss drop.
How Long Should A Weight Loss Phase Last?
This isn’t a tricky question by any means but how many people ignore how long a diet should be? Too many from my experience.
I’ve noticed a huge drop in motivation for people that diet for more than 12 weeks. And based on others’ recommendations, 12 weeks seems to be a sweet spot before diet fatigue starts to set in.
This also allows us to perfectly align our weight loss per week to make sure we stay on track.
Say you weigh 180 lbs, based on my 10% recommendation, this means the maximum amount of weight loss you should be aiming for is 18 lbs. Then, we simply divide 18 by 12 weeks to find the amount of weight loss we need to achieve to stay on track.
18/12=1.5 pounds per week lost
As you can see, this is an awesome way to make sure you’re heading in the right direction to achieve your weight loss results without trying to lose fat for half the year.
What To Do If I Don’t Start Seeing Results In 4 Weeks?
Usually, by week 4 you’ll have lost a couple of pounds at least. If you find after this period of time you aren’t seeing results there are a few things you can do.
- Take progress pictures to make sure you’re tracking more than just bodyweight. A lot of times, especially for those with more weight to lose, you won’t see any changes on the scale for a while. This is usually due to building muscle mass and losing fat at the same time. This will show up as no weight loss on the scale. Taking progress pictures allows you to compare how you look, which is much more important than how much you weigh.
- Start taking measurements. Taking progress pictures can be a bit subjective. The best way to measure your weight loss results in my experience is by taking measurements. Sure you might have gained some muscle in your abdominals and low back, but odds are your waist size WILL go down if you’re actually . I’ve found that when I couldn’t rely on the scale that taking measurements with a measuring tape is the best bet. An awesome measuring tape I’ve found is included with this Body Fat Caliper available on Amazon for a low price. Definitely worth the cheap investment.
- Make sure you’re moving more and track your calories accurately. The biggest issue I see with people trying to lose weight without any progress to show for it is a lack of calorie counting. If you’re working out hard in the gym, doing cardio, and just eating whatever is outside the gym, all of your hard work could be for naught! Instead of leaving it up to chance, start weighing your food with a food scale, and start tracking with MyFitnessPal. If you aren’t doing this and continue to see zero results, you only have yourself to blame. In addition to this, you absolutely need to make sure you’re moving more. If you work out hard 3 days a week but sit around all day the other days, losing weight is going to be difficult. Try to do something active every day you can.
How Much Weight Do You Need To Lose To Notice A Difference?
From my own experience on my weight loss journey, this can vary. The main factors are your current body fat percentage, how much you actually weigh, and how tall you are.
Somebody that is only 15% body fat will notice their weight loss results a lot faster than someone with 30% body fat.
- Likewise, if you weigh 150 lbs and lose 15 lbs, there’s going to be a huge difference in weight loss.
- If you’re 300 lbs and lose 15 lbs, it’s not going to be as noticeable at all either.
- Finally, if you’re 6′ tall; you can lose less weight than someone that’s 5′ tall, and you’re going to notice the difference faster.
So, as you can see, there are a bunch of factors to consider.
If you’re interested in seeing my 40 lb weight loss using keto, check out my post here.
I have a very simple method to determine how much weight you need to lose to notice a significant difference.
In general, a 5-10% reduction in weight will create a noticeable change.
This easily scales based on how much you currently weigh. If you weigh more, you’re going to have to lose more weight.
That’s just how it goes. Here’s how easy it is to calculate!
Take whatever your weight is and multiply it by 5 and 10%. This is the range of body weight you will need to lose to notice a difference.
I’ll show you how easy it is now!
Let’s assume you’re 200 lbs.
- 200×5%=10 lbs
- 200×10%=20 lbs
- So if you’re 200 lbs, you’ll need to lose between 10-20 lbs to show a noticeable difference in your body composition.
If you’re 100 lbs, it’s going to be even less!
- 100×5%=5 lbs
- 100×10%=10 lbs
- Somebody that’s 100 lbs would need to lose 5-10 lbs to notice a difference.
However, unless you’re very short, I don’t recommend losing weight at 100 lbs as you’re most likely at risk of being malnourished.
I would increase lean body mass and get to a healthy weight before working on weight loss again.
Finally, let’s say you’re around 300 lbs.
- 15-30 lbs needs to be lost before you notice huge improvements in your body.
So again, the more you weigh, the more you need to lose to notice a difference.
This is all just estimates you can use to get you into the right ballpark though so keep that in mind.
You still have to take your actual starting body fat percentage into account, as well as your height and gender.
However, you can use this as a tool to figure it out for yourself!
Hopefully, it helps!
Can You Lose Weight And Gain Muscle At The Same Time?
This is something that has been talked about for years, is it actually possible for weight loss and muscle gain to happen at the same time?
As always in the world of fitness, it depends.
In general, however, it is absolutely possible for weight loss and muscle gain to occur at the same time. This is called body recomposition and has been proven to work in bodybuilder circles.
Although it is possible to weight loss and muscle growth to happen at the same time, a lot of variables have to take place for this to occur.
If you’re interested in making this happen for yourself, read on!
How To Build Muscle While Losing Weight
When your goal is body recomposition, there are a couple of things we need to take into account.
- To lose body fat, you must burn energy.
- To build muscle mass, you must store energy.
- Based on these truths, you must be in a calorie surplus to gain muscle and a calorie deficit for weight loss to occur.
While the first two points are true, the 3rd statement is not.
You can achieve some weight loss results without being in a calorie deficit. You can eat at maintenance and use weight lifting/cardio to create a calorie deficit.
Likewise, you can eat at maintenance and use body fat stores to build muscle mass. This is how you can train for muscle gain and weight loss simultaneously.
Think of it like this, say you’re 250 lbs at 30% body fat. This equals 75 lbs of stored body fat.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, this equals 262,500 calories stored in the body to build muscle.
The next time somebody says you can’t build muscle and lose fat at the same time, remember all the stored body fat we have in our bodies.
You don’t need to consume more calories to build muscle mass.
It allows you to build more muscle sure, but it’s not necessary if your goal is primarily weight loss.
Now that we know that it’s possible, how do we have to train to make this happen?
How Should You Workout To Make This Happen?
If you want to build muscle while losing body fat, you need to train your ass off. This means training with high intensity, and getting stronger in the 5-20 rep range.
Here are a couple of basic tips to follow:
- Train upper and lower body 2 times each week. Training each muscle group twice a week has been proven to build more muscle than lower frequencies. An example training program using this setup will be displayed below.
- Train as much as your schedule will allow. This one is super simple, the more you train, the more muscle you can build, and the faster you’ll lose weight. The more you train and recover from, the better. If you can only train consistently 3 times per week, you better be making those 3 days count.
- Use big, compound movements. I’ve gone over this in so many articles but to gain the most muscle possible, you want to use compound movements for the majority of your training. I’ve told you my favorites before: squats, bench, overhead press, deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, and dips. Pick exercises that allow you to lift the most weight and have been proven to build muscle for YOU. If you feel like you aren’t building as much muscle and progressing as quickly, pick something else. The best movements are the ones that give YOUR body a growth response.
- Keep trying to break rep PRs until you can’t anymore. If you want to achieve a solid body recomp, you need to continue using the same movements and beat your records on them. If you’re not stronger in 6 months than you are now, you’re doing something wrong. This means you keep hammering the same movements until you literally can’t add weight or beat your reps anymore. When that happens, switch to another exercise and start getting stronger on that. Repeat this process forever, don’t switch exercises every week trying to “confuse the body”, that shit is bullshit and will ensure you go nowhere fast.
With that, I turn it over to you!
Were you expecting the answers shown in this post or were you hoping to see results faster?
Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
Until next time,